Thursday (November 4th): Rishi Sunak Opens Britain’s Purse at Cop26

Rishi Sunak
Source: Wikipedia

Name? Rishi Sunak

Westphalian identity? British

Age? 41

Why is he in the news? The British Chancellor of Treasury, Rishi Sunak, made the news this week at the Cop26 for announcing that he intends to turn Britain into a ‘net-zero finance centre’. This means all British public companies now have to plan for net-zero emissions by 2050 under the new Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net-Zero (GFANZ). In total, the financial firms in this new alliance represent about £130tn in assets, monumental figures now committed to greenery. 

Why do we care? As the representative of Cop26’s host country, Sunak is showing firm British leadership in Glasgow. Following an unimpressive G20 summit last week, Sunak stood out at yesterday’s finance-themed day at the Cop26 with several pledges from the UK to cut emissions domestically as well as invest in green energy at home and abroad.

Why should you care? Britain has not only committed on several fronts to stop deforestation, divest from carbon abroad, and lower emissions at home, they are fitting the bill for other countries to do so as well. Sunak, the United States and the EU have pledged $8.5bn just to South Africa to phase out coal, which currently supplies 90% of its energy. The very countries responsible for the largest emissions worldwide are now leading climate policy. You should care 8/10 about leaders putting their money where their mouth is. 

Who else cares? Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Surges in investment in green energies boosted the Indian solar power industry, empowering Modi to commit India to net-zero emissions by 2070—the first pledge of its kind from India. This is a big deal for a country previously hesitant to make any kind of commitment to cut emissions. 

Any further comments? Xi notably did not commit to lower China’s own carbon emissions along with other leading countries. This doesn’t mean, however, that China is not interested in the growing green economy

Francia Morales

Editor in Chief for Research and Analysis